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Always Safe – together

Safety is priority number one and our goal is zero injuries – of any kind. Cooperation and learning are the most important tools for achieving this goal.

"It could’ve gone badly; he was struck square in the chest by an object weighing more than one tonne".

Jannicke Nilsson is the Executive Vice President of Safety, Security and Sustainability at Equinor. She is reminiscing about one of her first runs as OIM, in the early 2000s. Preparations were under way for a drilling operation; the incredibly heavy unit was being lifted, and then it happened. Thankfully, the offshore worker came away unscathed, but it could have gone so much worse.

"Witnessing how close we came to losing a life, that does something to you as a manager. I believe it’s important that we can talk about what went wrong. The person who was involved shared his experience directly with me and the management team after the fact. This allowed us to quickly learn important lessons from the incident", says Nilsson.

Taking care of people and the environment is essential for doing our job.

Jannicke NilssonExecutive Vice President, Safety, Security and Sustainability
Jannicke Nilsson

She believes in learning lessons and wants a culture where we can share openly when incidents occur, so we can identify the cause and understand what could have been done differently. Addressing concerns and talking about how we can work together to compensate for them should be encouraged.

"Most incidents can be avoided. We need to be open and systematic, so we can identify the causal links and learn from them. Then we can implement the right measures, together", she says.

Safety is a cornerstone in Equinor.

"Taking care of people and the environment is essential for doing our job and taking a leading role in the energy transition", says Nilsson.

Serious incidents and accidents where people have been injured or lost their lives, or that have resulted in serious damage to the environment and equipment, are a part of the industry’s history. Working to prevent serious incidents and major accidents has been a key element in our safety work for many years.

One example is offshore oil and gas leaks. The industry has taken major steps together over a ten-year period.

"We have worked systematically to improve, we have taken an inquisitive approach, searching for causes, cooperating with suppliers, working to develop expertise and training and elevating the technical standard of the facilities. The result is a decline in such incidents", says Nilsson.

Monitoring the risk level over time

  • Together with the working life parties, the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway has developed a tool for measuring the risk level in the Norwegian petroleum activities. The PSA publishes annual reports called RNNP .
  • The number of incidents with a major accident potential has remained at a stable level since 2005. This level is lower than in the period before 2005.

See also the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway’s overview of safety milestones.

Jacob Sømme
Jacob Sømme in Equinor started the Always Safe cooperation, which has now evolved into an industry collaboration.
Photo: Arne Reidar Mortensen

Through Always Safe, Equinor works with other operating companies and suppliers to reduce the likelihood of major accidents and increase the understanding of obstacles to working safely. This is an arena for companies to share openly and develop learning packages based on incidents and important shared priorities.

"Both our partners and we ourselves share the same vision with regard to zero injuries or harm. The learning packages contribute to our zero vision by strengthening the safety culture and promoting correct safety behaviours. It’s also very gratifying to see that our suppliers recognise the learning packages when they work across our installations. The cooperation is working incredibly well and the packages have become highly professional", says Talar Arif, HSSEQ Manager - Operations at AkerBP, one of the participating companies.

Always Safe

Always Safe is a cooperation between Equinor, Aker BP, Vår Energi and ConocoPhillips. Several supplier companies also contribute and use the content.

The goal is to strengthen the industry’s safety culture and work together with the goal of no major accidents, while also preventing injuries, damage and undesirable events in the day-to-day work.

Safety work is a joint responsibility. The industry cooperates in the development of a shared safety culture across companies and roles.
Photo: Harald Pettersen

We must constantly strive to renew, while also holding on to what we know works.

Jannicke Nilsson of Equinor says that the cooperation within the industry and with the authorities, safety delegate service and trade unions is vital to the safety work.

"Regardless of the role, we have a shared goal of learning, so that we can better safeguard people and the environment together".

So what will be the most important priorities for the safety work going forward, and in the energy transition?

"We must constantly strive to renew, while also holding on to what we know works. We need to make sure we have a unified approach to safety across the company. Whether a supplier is working with us at an onshore facility or an offshore installation, in Norway or Brazil, the safety culture should be the same", says Nilsson.

She emphasises that Equinor has considerable experience from safety work in the oil and gas activities that is relevant for the renewable and low-carbon activities. And vice versa.

"Protecting people is the same goal regardless of whether we are at a future hydrogen plant, on a wind farm or on a platform".

This is one of many stories from our first 50 years. It is also part of the story of how we will succeed with the energy transition.

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